If you have spent any time reading what I have written in the past, then you know that I am a lifelong New York Yankees fan who bleeds Yankee blood.
Growing up in the Bronx as I did led me to some interesting experiences. When I was quite young, there were seats available in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium for only one dollar. Quite often, my friends and I would sneak over to the Stadium without our parents knowing and catch a game.
During most of the 1990s, I worked in Emergency Medical Services and was often detailed at Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. Since I'm such a huge Yankees fan, the job at the Stadium was a dream come true.
Years later, life has taken some twists and turns. Those twists and turns eventually relocated me to New Hampshire, about an hour north of Boston. So, here I am, a die-hard Yankees fan, living in the heart of Boston Red Sox territory.
Yankees fans are few up here. It can be lonely. When one Yankees fan sees another up here, there's a glance and a gentle nod of the head with a mutual understanding, a feeling of compassion and a sense of pride.
All of that is done quite covertly for safety. We are small in numbers, but we are occasionally successful at infiltration within the enemy.
Yesterday, April 20, 2012, was the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park. I had to be in Boston quite early to drop someone off who had an all-day appointment, so I stayed down there and walked around, eventually finding my way to Fenway.
As I walked closer to the park, I could see and hear the fans lining up around the perimeter waiting for Red Sox players to ask for autographs.
People were everywhere, and almost everyone had some sort of Red Sox attire on somewhere on them. No one ever knew that I had my navy blue Lou Gehrig T-shirt on underneath my sweatshirt. Like I said, I have to be covert.
While I walked around, I took in the history of Fenway. As a Yankees fan, I have to admit that Fenway is incredibly beautiful, and the history absorbed me. I've been to a few games there, but I could not get my hands on tickets for yesterday's game.
When I walked toward the area where the players drive in, I decided to buy a baseball just in case I got close to any players.
With the ball in my hand, I realized that Dustin Pedroia was walking toward me. Fans started to close in on him. He immediately put his cell phone up to his ear and walked quickly by me. He surprised me by how small he actually was when he walked by. I'm 6'6", so most people seem small to me.
Jon Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Clay Buchholz, Adrian Gonzalez and a few others did the same thing as they drove in and got out of their vehicles. They all immediately put their cell phones up to their ears and ignored the fans.
A few kids began to cry when they didn't sign autographs. Parents were upset, but most people don't know that some players are not allowed to sign autographs unless approved by their managers or agents.
Two Red Sox players were different. Mike Aviles and Ryan Sweeney both stopped for quite a while and mingled with the fans, took pictures and signed autographs. Both of them signed my baseball.
Yes, I'm a Yankees fan, and even though my heart is against the Red Sox, I respect the players for their talents and the sacrifices that they made along the way to make it to the big leagues.
If you haven't been to Fenway or the surrounding area, I would absolutely recommend that you visit. Even as a Yankees fan, you will thoroughly enjoy the area. Once they close off Yawkey Way, it feels like a street party during the game.
The restaurants and pubs are great and a lot of fun. Once they start cooking at the grills outside on Yawkey, the smell of the food in the air is intoxicating.
Some fans had a few drinks in them already, and walked around yelling "Yankees suck!" and things like that. One guy high-fived me and yelled, "We're gonna kick Yankee butt tonight!" I smiled as I walked away knowing that my Yankees were going to spoil the party with a win.
My heart and soul will always be with the Yankees. I will always be loyal and faithful to the NY logo.
As a Yankees fan, I do have to admit that I love Fenway Park. You will, too.
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